Help! Who Should Be My Travel Buddies?

One of the ways my family copes with the chaos of the holidays is we escape them. Next week we are off on another travel adventure that will undoubtedly include some outdoor toy photography.

I have to start packing my Lego mini figures soon, but I don’t know which ones? Frankly I’m overwhelmed and a bit frazzled going into the holidays (I know, aren’t we all!), and I need some help choosing the subjects of the photos you will be seeing over the upcoming months.

I have more than a few mini figures so you can also think of this as a game of “Does she have…?”  Please keep in mind I will be on sandy beaches, old lava flows of black sharp rocks and at least one volcano, plus the usual tropical vegetation;  the possibilities are endless.

You can also think of this as a way to challenge me photographically. As you may have already noticed I have my favorite mini figs and accessories. By suggesting your favorite mini figure(s) you can help me to break out of my rut and try something new!

Any and all suggestions will be considered and if feasible, included. So what do you say, who should my travel buddies be?

~ xxsjc

Who are your favorite Lego mini figures to photograph?

If you where ship wrecked on a desert island, what mini figures would you want to have with you? 

Landing Party

 

CC: Creative Class

I appreciate yesterdays post by Me2 . It was a thoughtful response to the article about artist Christopher Boffoli and his legal actions against Pinterest.

This is a complicated issue that has many sides and Me2 has addressed just a few of them. Sure we need to think out side the box to make sure that artists are credited fairly for their artistic creation be it a photograph, a movie or a song as it is passed around the internet. But lets call all of this what it really is…content. We are all content creators. With every Instagram post, pin to Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter update…rest assured , we are creating content that Big Inc. is packaging and selling right back to us.

Me2 says we should all get on board and share freely with an updated distribution model, just like the music and movie industry has done. That may be well and true, but the last I saw, this issue is still up for debate, especially in the music industry. Most middle level and beginning musicians still have not cracked the money question.

Prime example of this is the band Pomplamoose who’s lead singer, Jack Conte, wrote an article detailing the band’s touring costs that was picked up by Tech Crunch.  The gist of the article was about how   a modestly successful mid level band can’t make money when they tour and that they have to think out side the box to make ends meet. The article was roundly criticized on many fronts and I think the heart of what Jack had to say was overlooked in this firestorm. The concept of a “creative class”; that group of artists that does whatever it takes to keep the lights on by creating content to distribute via the internet to their fans. This creative class may not lead the glamorous life of JayZ and Beyonce, but it can be a rewarding one.

I think it is in the best interest of the Big Inc.’s  of the world to support these content creators (je: us) by creating new ways to address copyright concerns. How tough can it be to educate their users about the correct way to Pin, Post, Tumble etc so that artists can benefit from their work being shared.

If we want the internets to remain a lively place to interact and share unique and original content, lets do more to protect the content creators…us.

~ xxsjc

Do you think of yourself as a member of the “creative class”?

Do you care that Big Inc makes money off of your creative endeavors? 

Collaborations

Yesterday Me2 dedicated a post to one of our dearest community members Lyn Miller Lachman. Lyn has been one of the first and most supportive members our our community. Since Me2 and I are blogging newbies her advice has been appreciated. She is just one of the many unique people who we are happy to be #stuckinplastic with.

Today I want to talk about another interesting member of our community: Gordon Webb.

I first met Gordon in the G+ version of our Dark Room Forum where he posted images of his MOC’s (My Own Creations) and asked for feedback. He wanted to improve his photography so he could show off his creations in the best possible light. Gordon and I bonded over our mutual love of the Lego Galaxy Squad line and our mutual respect for each others work. (Gordon has the best Instagram tag for a builder: #instructionsareforwussies!)

After receiving such a great response when I posted a picture of one of Peter Reid’s Lego robot creations on Instagram, I have wanted to do a photo series of small robots exploring the world. This would be a chance to break away from traditional mini figure photography and bridge the gap between photographers and builders. Unfortunately I am not a builder, at least not yet. When Gordon posted a photo of Dutch on IG I fell in love with him and reached out to see if he would be open to a collaboration. Lucky for me he was!

I am excited about this project and I wanted to share it with you. StuckinPlastic is a unique community with lots of opportunity to work together and support, nurture and feed off each others ideas and energy. As you become familiar with our new home I hope you will take the time to post a few photos in the forums and lets see what else we can develop together.

I am happy to be StuckinPlastic with you!

~ xxsjc

Dutch

Thank you Me2

I want to take a moment to thank Me2 for all his (on going) hard work behind the scenes for StuckinPlastic.com. He was instrumental in setting up our original blog on Blogger and making it look pretty. Now he has moved us lock, stock and barrel  to Word Press with minimal problems. Way to go!

Yes, their has been a few kinks, but with your help and feedback we are working them out. This community is not only a platform for conversation, growth and support, it’s a group effort. We are all StuckinPlastic together.

I am most excited that this new site will allow us to interact more effectively as a group! We have incorporated the various rooms created on G+ here at our new home so we have one place to post, interact and help each other on our individual journeys.

Here is a brief explanation of the different forums:

  • The Foyer: This is a place to post topics of general interest that you find interesting or important. This can run the gamut of “simple chit chat and bubble talk” to heavy hitting issues like copyright and trademark issues. You decide the topics.
  • The White Room: This is where we encourage you to post your photos. Whether you are looking for a friendly critique or a round of applause, this is the place. In time you will be sharing with both collectors and artists alike.
  • The Green Room: This is where we would like you to introduce yourself. Please post a representative image of your work or your signature figure and tell us a little about yourself. As Me2 says: “anything goes as an icebreaker”.
  • The Dark Room: This is where we can talk shop: camera gear, lighting techniques, editing software, organization techniques are just a few ideas. Let’s geek out together!

When Me2 asked me to join him on this adventure at the end of 2013, I had no idea where it would lead but I was more than open to the possibilities. I feel this past year we have made good progress, we added our friend Avanaut and built the foundations of a wonderful community. But I want to do more! I want to take us all to the next level and I feel Me2 has given us the tools to do that.

Thank you my friend!

~ xxsjc

IMG_1336

Change is Constant

It was a good week for photo books, +Me2 was not the only one getting his book ready. I sent all three of the books I am working on out for their first pressings. In addition the Lego book has been through its final edits and the final copies have been ordered. It looks like I will meet my self imposed deadline.

Putting this Lego book together was so much fun. It really helped me look at my work critically, evaluate what worked and what didn’t. I have already begun to make plans for the new year and I realize I need to clear my plate to make room for bigger projects.

The biggest change to come is that the current mods of Brickcentral (including myself) are stepping down as of January 1st. It’s been a great ride moderating Brickcentral for much of the past two years, but one I feel is coming to its natural end. The landscape of Instagram has changed dramatically since I began posting nearly three years ago. Many of the people who where active Lego photographers have moved on. There are lots of new people to fill those shoes, but their needs are different.

The concept of a photo group to celebrate and support Lego photography appears to have lost it’s meaning as our group has grown. Many other Lego groups have grown up to fill those needs; some offering weekly challenges, some offering set reviews and others offering thematic gatherings. When we first started Lego photography was getting very little respect from the larger toy photography groups, that has changed dramatically over the years and I often see Lego photos featured.

I have been running Brickcentral on auto-pilot for the last few months and I am grateful to the other moderators who have helped to keep it going: especially dear Brickandmordor who makes everything better. I also know that to truly serve this Lego toy photography community I would need to step up my game and I don’t have the time or energy to do that right now.

One of the original founders of Brickcentral will take the site over. I am not privy to his plans but I will be on the sidelines cheering him on and supporting him as I can.

In the mean time I am making plans for an awesome 2015 that includes meeting up with friends in Las Vegas in January and welcoming Avanaut and +Me2 to my city in March for our first exhibition.
Trust me it is bitter sweet to say good by to an organization that has shaped my photography in so many ways. But as we all know…

Change is inevitable. Change is constant. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

~ xxsjc

If you are a fan of Brickcentral, what is your favorite memory?
In the last few weeks of operation, is there anything you would like to see us do?
Will you participate in our final contest, Ninja Christmas?

“If you love something, set it free.”

Bridging the Gap

So as you’ve surmised +Me2, Avanaut and I are excited about our upcoming #stuckinplastic exhibition. For a variety of reasons this is a big deal for each of us. Of course it is always risky when you put yourself forward artistically, and this situation is no different. 

On IG the other day I came across a comment that touched a nerve:

“I feel like a jerk posting images of awesome things with the shiddyest (sic) camera. I love those high quality shots just as much as any other Lego fan. But at the end of the day, it’s just a bunch of minifigure pictures. I’m not trying to get the most expensive camera award.”  

This comment comes from a person who identifies themselves as a “Master Builder” and while I don’t agree with their point of view, there is a kernel of truth in his statement. It directly addresses that little voice in the back of my head that holds all my doubts. 
 
I know I will have to answer this question directly to the patrons of the Bryan Ohno Gallery and to any potential collectors.  What makes this work worthy of purchase? Since the subject is a common household object, can’t anyone do this?
 
I’ll be very clear that I never set out to take the art world by storm and make “whimsical, powerful, iconoclastic and often unconventional art which speaks to, challenges, and provokes discussion about cultural, political, and social issues and the role art plays in our evolving global community.” (This is actual language taken from a gallery invite I received.) This is not me and it never has been. 

What I do strive to create is art for Lego fans. I want to make art that any fan would be proud to display on their wall and so they can tastefully let their freak flag fly. I want to bridge the gap between the casual fan and those incredibly creative master builders. And if my images touch a deeper emotional truth along the way, then I couldn’t be happier. 
 
I think the Lego universe is big enough for all of us to play in; each in their own way be true. 
 
~ xxsjc

Does this fellow Instagram user have a point, is it just a mini figure picture?
If you don’t think it is just a pretty picture, how would you describe the photos taken by the members of #stuckinplastic?
If you missed out on signing up for the book exchange and would like to still participate, please contact us immediately.  

By shelly Corbett


This little guy was created from Lego Space: Building the Future by Peter Reid. He has proven to be very popular. 

Edward S Curtis

Photography is a wonderful medium that can be used for artistic expression as well as capturing a moment in time; a time that would be lost forever without this photographic record. Someone who understood this powerful truth was Edward S Curtis, a self-taught photographer working at the turn of the 20th century.

When Curtis moved to the Pacific Northwest from the American heartland he fell in love with the natural beauty of the area. He was a naturalist as well as a talented photographer. When he met Princess Angeline, a famous local character as well as Chief Sealth’s daughter, he fell in love with the idea of capturing the image of Native Americans.

More chance meetings by Curtis with the wealthy and well connected led to a life time of pursuing his passion of photographing all Native Americans before their culture vanished forever. He pursued his dream while crisscrossing vast distances of the continental United States while dragging along his 14” x 17” camera and the corresponding glass plates he exposed his images on. (Think of that the next time you complain about your “large” DSLR camera).

I realize his methods are often criticized, and the authenticity of the subjects are brought into question, but without his efforts we wouldn’t even have this much of a record. The images he captured are simply beautiful.

If you want to read one account of his life please check out Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis. If you visit Seattle you can stop by Chihuly: Garden and Glass where there is displayed 25 stunning Curtis’s alongside original Native American rugs and baskets. It seems our own local celebrity Dale Chihuly (read: famous glass artist) was inspired by the work of Curtis and the Native Peoples.
~ xxsjc

Today is Thanksgiving in my country. A day when we traditionally take stock of what we are grateful for, spend time with our families and remember our countries origin story.With that in mind, what are you grateful for?

If you would like to know what I am grateful for you can read this, this and this.
Have you signed up for the Best of 2014 Photographic Challenge? If not, sign up here!

Who Inspires You?

The hardest thing about keeping going with any project, be it toy photography or landscape photography is the concept of challenging yourself. Instagram is filled with people who take essentially the same photo over and over again.

I know I can be accused of this as much as the next person. 
So I want to take a moment to talk about someone who seems to be challenging himself on a daily basis: +east mountain.  Even though he is nearing the end of his 365 daily photo challenge he continues reinventing his photography style. Sure you can attribute some of this to his desire to master the basic concepts of photography since he is relatively new to the hobby, but most people do not take it to this level. 
If you look back through his photos he has played with different lenses, natural elements like fire, water and sand, as well as experimenting with a variety of lighting styles. Just thinking about the amount of effort that goes into these shoots is a bit mind blowing, but at the same time I am inspired to push myself in a similar way. 
Ok maybe I’m not going to start melting my mini figures, but I know I am capable of accomplishing more than what I am doing. 
It is easy to look to the likes of Avanaut for inspiration but don’t stop there. There is as much to be learned from the new kids like East-Mountain, as from the masters.

~ xxsjc

Who inspires you?
How do you keep your work looking fresh?
Do you have any inspirational tricks you can share with the community? 

To Each His Own Way Be True

It is a real pleasure sharing this blog with two people I have tremendous respect for: Me2 and Avanaut. We each bring different insights and working styles to a subject we all love: photographing toys.

Recently Avanaut talked about is penchant for re-editing his photos, months or years after he took them. Considering how much effort he puts into his set ups I can see the value of looking at older photos to see if any gems fell through the cracks.

Me2 also talked about his need to spend days or weeks on an idea before it comes to fruition. To me this is consistent with the elaborate stories he constructs around his subjects.

I am here to tell you that there is another way.

When I pack my mini figs for an outing I will take 20-40 mini figs with me always keeping in mind my destination and their relationships. I put some thought into variouse scenarios that seem interesting, grab a few accessories and head out into the big wild world. I never know what I am going to come back with. I like to see what my muse will present to me in terms of interesting lighting and macro environments.

This photo is a prime example of a character I have been sitting on for awhile. I love Mrs Puff but her body shape and lack of movement has me stumped. When I was crawling around on some lava rocks recently, this channel presented itself and I put Mrs Puff on one end and my camera on the other. Honestly it is my favorite photo from this latest trip. I feel I can put Mrs Puff aside now, I have done her justice and I will move onto one of the other 300+ characters I have yet to photograph.

Frankly I shoot from the hip, not for instant gratification, but because the unexpected is more interesting to me. I like to think of it as cooking. I have a few different ingredients that I mix together and I never quite know what is going to come out of the oven (read “camera”).

So don’t worry if your photographs aren’t pre-visualized or you don’t have elaborate sketches that you are working from. That method works great for some people, but there are many different ways to achieve your goal. You just have to keep shooting until you find the method that works best for you.

~ xxsjc

Hiding from Sponge Bob